essex commissioners hold inaugural muslim heritage month celebration

Photo L to R: Essex Surrogate Alturrick Kenney, Comm'r A'Dorian Murray Thomas, Comm'r Wayne Richardson, Comm'r Pres. Carlos Pomares, Comm'r Romaine Graham, Baseemah Beasley, Comm'r Patricia Sebold, Younis Moheisen, Hassan Abdus-Sabur, Jimmy Small, Comm'r VP Tyshammie Cooper, Imam Wahy-ud Deen Shareef.

Newark, NJ - Yesterday evening, the Essex County Board of County Commissioners held its inaugural Muslim Heritage Month celebration. This event celebrates the accomplishments of and honor outstanding Muslim men and women of Essex County for their unique contributions to the Essex community and society as a whole.

This year, the Board recognized Hassan Abdus-Sabur of Newark, Founder of the HBCU Scholarship Bike Ride; Younis Moheisen, Owner of Kings Family Restaurant and Catering in Newark; Baseemah Annette Beasley, Chairwoman of the Irvington Democratic Committee; and Jimmy Small of East Orange, President of the Muslim League of Voters in New Jersey. A moment of silence was also held for Imam Hassan Sharif of the Masjid Muhammad-Newark mosque, who was tragically killed on January 3rd.

“The Board of Commissioners was proud to concur with the Governor and Legislature to commemorate the monumental achievements of the Muslim community, and to recognize January as Muslim Heritage Month,” said Commissioner President Carlos M. Pomares. “Muslim residents have directly contributed to the positive growth and diversity of Essex County in all aspects of culture and society. They are also often on the frontlines for fostering prosperity, kindness, and a mutual understanding between religious groups and within our community. Our honorees exemplify and are a reflection of the outstanding people in our Muslim community. We thank you for all you do, and congratulations.”

Imam Wahy-ud Deen Shareef of Masjid Waarith ud Deen mosque in Newark delivered prayers during the occasion, and the audience was captivated by the musical talents of singer Zakiyyah Zai’mah.

See more pictures of the event here. Watch a recording of the event here.



Hassan Abdus-Sabur, presented by Commissioner Wayne L. Richardson, is a proud 4th generation Newarker, who is deeply committed to the well-being and progress of the Newark community. Throughout his life, he has been actively engaged in political and social initiatives, working extensively on political campaigns, organizing youth groups, and contributing to the launch of grassroots organizations. Hassan is the President and Executive Director of the HBCU Scholarship Bike Ride. His passion for education and the empowerment of Newark’s youth motivated him to establish the HBCU Scholarship Bike Ride, a 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission to bridge the financial gap hindering many students’ access to higher education. Each year, approximately 25 riders complete the 3-day ride from Newark, NJ to Washington DC, with stops in Philadelphia, PA and Aberdeen, Maryland. Since its inception in 2020, the HBCU Bike Ride has successfully raised over $250,000 for Newark students, assisting 35 students to matriculate at HBCUs. Hassan serves as an aide to Newark Municipal Council President LaMonica McIver, a role which has allowed his advocacy for positive change to become more defined. He is a board member for the Believe in Newark Foundation, a former Commissioner for the Newark Parking Authority, and a former member of the Newark Public Library Board of Trustees. Hassan is married to Felicia Walker, is the father of four: Safee, Ameera, Madison, and Malik; and he is the grandfather of Zayn.

Younis Moheisen, presented by Commissioner Wayne L. Richardson, is the owner of Kings Family Restaurant & Catering, located at 557 Clinton Avenue, Newark, a family-oriented restaurant that specializes in Halal Southern Style Cuisine. Younis came to America from very humble beginnings in Jerusalem, Palestine over 41 years ago and took up residence in the Paterson area. He immediately enrolled in English classes at Rutgers University. While learning English, he also started training as a computer technician at a local technical school. To help pay for his education, he took part-time jobs at a restaurant and limousine service. In 1990, he came to Newark and opened a grocery store. In 1992 in the same area, due to his hobby and love for cooking, he opened his first 600 sq. ft., restaurant that catered to halal southern cuisine food; moving soon into a 4200 sq. ft. location. After over a decade on Lyons Avenue he moved his business to its current location on Clinton Avenue. Younis married his wife in Jordan in 1993, and they have three children. He has received many awards for his service to the community from the Mayor and Council of Newark. He has participated in numerous community service events as a sponsor of school activities, community health fairs and feeding the homeless projects. For several years he was in partnership with the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation at his current location, where he sponsored free HIV testing every third Saturday of the month.

Baseemah Annette Beasley, presented by Commissioners Romaine Graham and Patricia Sebold, was raised and educated in Newark. She attended and graduated from Southside High School, and also attended Essex County College. Baseemah met and married the love of her life, the late D. Bilal Beasley, and later moved to the Township of Irvington where she has resided for the last 46 years. Baseemah is a retiree from Horizon Blue Cross & Blue Shield after 25 years of service, and is currently a Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. Shortly after moving to Irvington she became involved in the community as a PTA member and later became a Co-District Leader with her husband in the South Ward – District 3, a role she has served in since 1984. Baseemah has held many positions: Aide to Freeholder Linda Cavanaugh, Aide to Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, and Commissioner of the Irvington Housing Authority (Vice-President). She is currently an Irvington Board of Education member, Aide to Senator Renee R. Burgess, member of the D. Bilal Beasley Civic Association, founder of the Shahid F. Bilal Beasley Memorial Scholarship Fund, member of the Board of Adjustments (Vice-Chair), and Chairwoman for the Irvington Democratic Committee. She is most proud of serving as Chairwoman of the Irvington Democratic Committee, a position that was held by her late, great husband for over 20 years, and as Founder of the Shahid F. & D. Bilal Beasley Memorial Scholarship Fund. It was started in 1991 when her youngest son was killed at 17, and since then the family has awarded Irvington High School seniors with scholarships, and eighth grade students with book and gift certificates. She was married to the late Mr.  Beasley for over 50 years, is the mother of five — Akbar, Omar, Hakim, Jamillah, and Shahid — grandmother of 8, and great grandmother of 15.

Jimmy Small, presented by Commissioner Vice President Tyshammie L. Cooper, is the President of the Muslim League of Voters in New Jersey, and has served as an East Orange District Leader for several years. He attended Lincoln School, VLD, and was a proud 1971 graduate of East Orange High School. After graduating from East Orange High School, he went on to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Upon completing his Freshman year at Rutgers-New Brunswick, he received a draft notice for the Army, but decided to enlist in the Navy instead. He spent four years of active duty in the Navy, and was a member of the Navy Reserves from 1983 to 1992. At most of his commands he served as the Affirmative Action officer to ensure that all sailors were treated fairly. When his four years of active duty were completed, Jimmy returned to Rutgers University, this time in Newark. He finished his BA in Political Science in 1979, and stayed on to gain a Master’s in public administration. Jimmy worked several odd jobs for a few years and then became a teacher. He always loved science and taught it in the Newark Public Schools for over 30 years until his retirement in 2018. He formed two programs called Brothers of Science and Success and Sisters in Science, which helped young men and women improve their self-esteem through science projects and bolstered their grades in general. Over the years, Jimmy has served many roles in the communities he loves. He spent 7 years on the East Orange School Board with 2 years as the president, and was elected to the East Orange City Council for 2 terms starting in 1999.

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